Following the changes to Taperbore and their manufacturing process updates for the new Elixir 7 & 9 last year, Avid is introducing their new X0 Trail brakes. We spotted these a bit earlier, and now it’s confirmed: It’s a full featured 4-piston brake, but the caliper is about the same size and weight as the original 2-piston X0 design!
Backstory: Over the last couple years, the X0 group has been moving more toward trail and DH with 2×10 drivetrains, chain guides and more. Meanwhile, the XX brakes and Elixir 7 & 9 got got complete revamps. Only X0’s brakes remained untouched. No more.
The new Xo Trail brake is positioned as their “quiver killer” in that it’s for anything from XC to DH, and first impressions suggest it may just live up to that hype…
REGULAR OLD X0 GETS UPDATED, TOO!
Almost buried under news of the Trail model, a new 2-piston X0 brake replaces the aging current model. Weighing in at claimed 315g, it’s essentially a trickled down XX WC brake that swaps in stainless steel hardware rather than titanium and the lever body is forged aluminum rather than magnesium. Like the XX WC, there’s no Pad Contact adjustment, but it will get a tool-free reach adjust knob as an option. Available rotor sizes include 140, 160, 170, 180 and 200. Yes, you read that right, a new 170mm rotor…more on that later. (For comparison, the XX WC brakeset comes in at a claimed 277g, old X0 was 333g)
New X0 brakes will retail for $261/wheel and be available in mid-July.
One of the more remarkable aspects of the new X0 Trail brake is the weight. It’s claimed at just 340g per wheel, which is only 7g heavier than the current X0 2-piston designs. And if you’re really concerned about those 7g, the increased power should let you run a smaller rotor to offset the slight weight gain. Here are all the component weights so you can piece it together yourself based on your desired setup. Figure about 10-12g savings on the front brake thanks to a shorter hose.
Left to right: 180mm (133g) – 170mm (115g) – 160mm (95g)
Left to right: Six rotor bolts (14g) – Standard bar clamp mount (16g) – 20mm post mount spacer w/ bolts (34g)
We’ve weighed their MatchMaker mounts versus two standard mounts in the past, and the two standard ones combined came out lighter by a hair, but the clean cockpit of the MMX mounts, particularly if you’re running one of their hydraulic lockouts, is worth a gram or two. The only thing not weighed here are the standard caliper bolts.
Both models use two-piece alloy calipers and alloy master cylinders with carbon fiber lever blades. The pistons are 16mm and 14mm offer far more power than the dual piston design with minimal weight penalty. All of Avid’s Elixir-style brakes, which includes X0 and XX, use a 21mm dual piston. Combined with the larger brake pad surface (below), and you get a lot more braking power. Surprisingly, the difference is minimal compared to their Code brakes, which use a 16mm/15mm four-piston set up. The Code brakes do have a beefier caliper and master cylinder, though.
- A = DOT5 fluid entry point to caliper.
- B = Fluid entry port behind front piston.
- C= Open area for fluid to get behind small piston.
- D = recessed lip for diaphram seal around pistons (seal not installed on cutaway)
Internally, the new X0 brakes get a new butyl bladder in the master cylinder. It’s a bit thinner, so there’s less potential seal drag, and it’s air-impermeable, so there’s less chance of air getting into the system. This new bladder has been a rolling change into Elixir 7, 9 and XX brakes since September. Both regular and trail models will ship with aluminum-backed organic pads, and sintered metallic pads are available as aftermarket.
The levers will offer both Tooled and Tool-free reach adjust models at launch. The tool-free adjustment knob interferes with the new Grip Shift, so if you’re holding out for the new twist shifters, you’ll want to get the tooled version…unless you run your brake levers a good distance inboard. The Trail version retains their Tool-Free contact adjust bezel, check this post to see how that works.
The Trail brakes get a new, longer pad (left). Exact percentages of surface area weren’t known at press time, but compared to the regular Avid pads at right, it’s a good bit wider, albeit a bit less tall.
Despite the longer pads (and appearances), SRAM’s MTB PR manager Tyler Morland says they are top loading, same as the Elixirs.
The banjo leading the hose into the caliper is adjustable, letting you angle it just right.
For a four-piston caliper, the overall package is very small – it actually seems smaller than the standard X0 – but the performance is pretty big.
New Rotor Size: a new 170mm is only about adding options, allowing the rider to fine tune their brake feel. They said they showed it to OEM guys for testing and they liked it, making things feel closer from front to rear versus a 180/160 combo by moving to a 180/170. In the end, it’s about choice – run it if you want. The 170 rotor should be available in May for about $40-$45 along with appropriate brackets.
While SRAM isn’t doing it with their top level XX, this separation among siblings mirrors Shimano’s XTR Race and Trail offerings…most parts are the same, but now brakes and derailleurs for both families get a more “trail” oriented option.
The new X0 Trail brakes will retail for $310/wheel and be available mid-July. Both the Trail and regular are MatchMaker X compatible and will be available in silver/polished, red and black.
Just for fun, a visual comparison of the Trail and regular X0 levers, which largely mirror the difference between the XX andXX WC levers in girth and features.
Having spent a fair amount of time on the older generation X0 and XX brakes and a bit on the new Elixirs, I can say that the new Trail brakes are much stronger. What’s nice is that they come on quickly without being grabby, and are powerful without giving up modulation.
We spent plenty of time climbing and swooping through rollers and flat sections, followed by long, brake burning descents. Being unfamiliar with the trails, there were plenty of folks (myself included) dragging the brakes or hitting them hard just before a big turn or drop. On one descent, a rider fumbled to the side immediately in front of me just as I dove in. I was able to brake hard enough to maneuver around him and another guy standing trailside without locking it up or skidding…and that was near the end of a fairly long descent. For me, that meant that even when the brakes were fairly hot, they still kept their composure and allowed very good control over wheel speed. Me likey.
In another instance, a group of us finished a long, fast descent to the smell of burning brakes. A quick water bottle spray on the rotors instantly vaporized, yet everyone seemed to comment how they still had plenty of power left at the end of the run.
Didn’t hear any brake squeal during our two days of 3 to 4 hours of riding each, and brakes were tested on 26″ and 29er, mostly alloy frames. Trail conditions were decent, moist dirt that was grabby with only a couple of small puddles or mud sections. So, not too wet, not too dry.
First impressions are good. A long term test is due, for sure, along with more trips to the mountains…